Temecula is becoming known for its great wines, but what is great wine without great food? Throughout Rancho California and the DePortola Wine Trail, great bistros are appearing everywhere. Wilson Creek is quickly becoming one the places to visit for both wine and dining. Located just seven miles east of the 15 Freeway, it’s a short drive from town out to the winery. We decided to visit for lunch at their Creekside Grille and see what they had to offer. Here’s some info from their website:
The Creekside Grille, Southern California’s finest wine country restaurant has been a perennial favorite of locals and visitors alike since it’s opening in October 2008. Seasonal ingredients and our award winning Wilson Creek wines are our inspiration for a relaxing experience at our alfresco dining room! Casual yet tasteful items fill the menu with delicious appetizers, gorgeous salads, scrumptious sandwiches, grilled favorites such as Salmon, Steak, and our homemade Cioppino, and bite size desserts off our charming Dessert Tree. Surrounded by the lush 30 year old Cabernet grapevines, herb garden and flower-filled hanging baskets, the view and ambiance set the scene for an enjoyable day in the wine country.
The smell of fresh herbs and ingredients filled the air as we were seated on the outdoor patio of Creekside Grille. Wilson Creek is known for their Almond Champagne & Legacy, but has a arsenal of red & whites to compliment anything you may choose from the menu – we chose the Pinot to get things started, a great suggestion from Terri, our server.
Chef Fernando, formerly of Arriba Grille in Old Town, now the Public House, was our chef for the day. We asked if it was possible to speak to him and get his recommendations for lunch. After a short conversation we had a new friend and three meals picked out, along with an appetizer and dessert.
The appetizer was a fried wanton, with some kind of basil & parsley filler concoction. One was definitely not enough, but we didn’t want to spoil what was coming next.
After a little wait, our main dishes showed up. There were three of us and we each ordered something completely different, to try and get a good picture of what the Grille has to offer. Each dish had excellent presentation, truly a gourmet feel to go along with the upscale feel of the outdoor patio.
This is the Chicken Papaya Salad. We’re not sure we need to write much about this dish – just look at the picture! Spring greens, grilled chicken, Mexican papaya, cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onions, queso fresco and ‘Delgado’ citrus vinaigrette . This was a fun & refreshing meal for a warm summer day in Temecula Wine Country.
This was a special of the day, the Salmon Salad; Fresh spring greens, and a generous serving of fresh salmon, which was cooked to perfection. Fish is usually hit or miss – this was definitely hit – the perfect combination of flavors in the salad and the fish.
This is the Beef Tenderloin special. One word: wow! “Just right” cooked medallions served on a bed of fresh greens, potatoes, and some kind of amazing mix of sauces. This was the “melt in your mouth” dish of the day.
And lastly, the desert. Not sure whether this is on the menu or not – it was a special request. A fried tortilla filled with chocolate and vanilla ice cream with caramelized strawberries was the perfect ending to an amazing meal. Needless to say, there wasn’t a bite left.
The outdoor patio at Creekside is the perfect place to relax for an afternoon lunch. The food is amazing, and well presented. The staff was very friendly and accommodating (remember, the chef made time to come out and talk). The prices were acceptable and the experience was well worth it. If you’re looking for a great, upper scale place to dine in Wine Country for lunch or early afternoon dinner, we recommend you give Creekside Grill a try – you will not be disappointed. Creekside Grille is open daily from 11am-5pm, call them for more info or reservations at 951-699-WINE (9463).
One note: This is probably not your lunch break grille; you’ll want to take the extra time to enjoy the full experience of dining at the Creekside Grille. If you’re looking for a quick meal on the weekends, Wilson Creek has added a Grab-n-Go BBQ. Open 12 noon until 4pm it is perfect for guests who are looking for a quick bite to eat or to enjoy a BBQ chicken sandwich, salad or burger down in our gardens.
Make sure when you visit to say hi to Chianti & Cabernet, the Wilson’s resident wine hounds. When you’re done, come back to tasteoftemecula.net and leave a comment with your experience for others to read.